Gov. Jeb Bush is urging everyone to heed Katrina’s lessons and take the storm seriously.
All hands are on deck at the Emergency Operations Center as disaster planners gear up for Ernesto’s landfall. With most of a huge state in the potential strike zone, the trick is getting rescue and relief supplies into position ahead of time.
The fact that Ernesto is bearing down on Florida on the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s strike on New Orleans is not lost on Jeb Bush. Katrina hit Florida first, and just like Ernesto, was a minimal-strength storm.
Thousands of South Floridians were caught off guard, and the governor doesn’t want to see a repeat.
"It was a category 1 storm. People died because they were out in the midst of this storm thinking it wasn’t a potent storm," Bush said.
State Emergency Management Director Craig Fugate is also urging people to take Ernesto seriously. Even after Katrina, he says people still underestimate the potential for disaster.
"We will probably lose lives even in a quote-unquote minimal hurricane because people fail to take steps to protect themselves and their families," he said.
One concern state officials believe they’ve got under control is gas supplies. Fuel supplies in port are higher than they’ve been going into previous storms, one of the lessons learned. Ernesto is expected to make landfall as early as Tuesday night.